minimizing your electric bill "the mensa method."

2 Posts
Jan 22, 2012 10:03 pm
minimizing your electric bill "the mensa method."

I bought my house in 2002. It was built in 1886 as a one room school house and served that purpose till about 1953 when it became a "junk yard" ala "Sanford and Son". the owner was a genius and super frugal. he dug a basement under it and in this basement installed a generator and ran all the power on the property from that generator.  The power to turn the generator was supplied by a 120v motor and a series of belts and pulleys.  His monthly electric bill was $15. Without this system installed my monthly bill ranges from $100 - $190 depending on the time of year. The generator was gone before I bought the house, but I would like to recreate what he did. I have toyed with the idea of setting up a portable generator and running it with an electric motor and after an initial start up from a battery the motor would run off its own generator power.

I've experimented with solar and wind and am not satisfied with what I get out of them. Any thoughts on the electric motor powered generator?
97 Posts
Jan 25, 2012 04:46 pm
Re: minimizing your electric bill "the mensa method."

Hi Steven.  Yes, I have some thoughts on the electric motor powered generator, or alternator, if you are using it to produce AC power.  You state that after an initial startup by battery, the electric motor will run on its own generator produced power?  This is theoretically impossible, since both the motor and generator have losses in power conversion and one cannot get more power out than is put in to a source.
The monthly electric bill of $15 is likely the utility company rent for having wired their power source into your building, and may not indicate any actual power consumption at your structure.   The previous genius owner must have had some power source to run the electric motor/generator combination that was independent of utility company power in order to have an electric bill which is that low.  The way to gauge actual power consumption from the utility would be to read the watt meter which they placed at the point of entry for the utility power line.
If you have experimented with solar and wind power and have been dissatisfied with the results it may be that you do not have good enough exposure to those sources of energy or you did not commit to an adequately sized installation of solar panels and wind turbines.   I wish you good fortune on your mensa project.  :-)  Jon C.
2 Posts
Jan 25, 2012 11:00 pm
Re: minimizing your electric bill "the mensa method."

I do not have a mensa project. the reference to mensa was about the previous owner. He was a member. When I bought the property I didn't know about the generator. There was an extra breaker panel in the basement that all the wiring to had been cut. The neighbors told me about his generator set up. That extra breaker panel was powered by the generator and all the electrical for the house was run to it. After he died the house was bought by a flipper who remodeled the house and took out the generator. In the 1950s the basic monthly connection charge was not $15.  As far as wind and solar, I'm talking about shoestring financing so almost everything is homemade. So for the house it would not be good enough but for my camper it has possibilities.  For the house a commercial produced set up would be a better choice.
99 Posts
Feb 23, 2012 01:18 pm
Re: minimizing your electric bill "the mensa method."

You can't power a generator by a motor and expect to get out more energy than you put in.  It was probably a diesel generator.

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